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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  March 24, 2013 7:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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certain fires they may not work in time. here's jeff rossen. >> reporter: it's the piece of plastic we all count on. in a fire your smoke alarm could mean the difference between life and death. but here's something you may not kn know. some alarms may not work fast enough to save you and your family. just ask amanda deputy. she always thought her smoke alarms would go off in a fire. >> we put fresh batteries in the smoke detectors. we pushed the test button for both the upstairs and downstairs units were functioning. >> reporter: but one winter night in 2007 amanda woke up to a room filled with smoke. >> and i went -- and i realized the room was way too black. >> reporter: her house was on fire. with five kids fast asleep, four of them upstairs. amanda panicked.
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>> my first thought was the four people i have upstairs, i want to make sure they're not scared to death, that they're safe. >> reporter: but it was too late, the fire too intense. amanda's 911 call was heartbreaking. >> i have four children dead in the house! incinerated. >> reporter: as amanda grieved the loss of four children, she realized none of the smoke alarms in her home had sounded during the fire. >> i knew they worked. and then when it was time, they never went off. >> reporter: so why didn't they? the answer according to experts may come down to a simple frightening truth. they say the most common alarms on the market, the type in 9 out of 10 homes today, sometimes fail in certain fires. >> when i go to the store to buy a smoke detector, i assume that it's going to sound when there's smoke. >> that's a reasonable assumption, but it's wrong.
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>> reporter: don russell is a scientist at texas a&m and has been testing smoke alarms for two decades. he says the most popular smoke alarms have a serious safety flaw. they run on something called ionization technology that works well in detecting fast flames but can be slower at detecting smoky smoldering fires, the kind that often strike while you sleep. >> any of the smoke detectors you buy at a big box store will not sound in the next fire you're going to have in your house. >> that's frightening. >> very scary. and that's why people die every year, because of this problem. >> reporter: and you're about to see just how scary that can be. we had dr. russell set up a demonstration at the fire training field at texas a&m. first he placed three ionization detectors, the kind most of us have, in a room with a couch.
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next, firefighters set a slow, smoky fire using a soldering iron. we're watching on monitors outside. firefighters say every second counts to get your family out. but watch. the room is filling with smoke, and the smoke detectors still haven't gone off. it's been 30 minutes. >> and the smoke is all the way to where the smoke detectors are. and we still don'tave any alert from the smoke detectors. >> reporter: finally, at 36 minutes -- [ beeping ]. >> we do have a smoke detector going off. >> reporter: minutes later, the other two go off, just as the couch erupts in flames. remember, this is the type of smoke alarm you probably have in your home. >> it's way too late. it's too dangerous. you couldn't get out of that room reliably. >> reporter: but there's another technology out there that experts say gives you better warning in smoldering fires.
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it's called a photoelectric detector. and even government tests show it goes off much sooner in smoky fires. watch what happens when dr. russell sets up another demonstration, this time with a photoelectric next to those three ionization detectors. with barely any smoke in the room, 17 minutes in, the photoelectric sounds the alarm. >> the photoelectric is telling us you've got a fire, get up, solve the problem, get out of the house. >> reporter: as more time passes, toxic smoke is overtaking the room. in fact, it takes another 21 minutes before any ionization detectors go off. the firefighters at the testing facility are stunned. >> i was thinking about if that was my own family and my kids trying to get out in that. and if i would have relied on the ionization, my family probably wouldn't make it out. >> reporter: photoelectric technology has been around for decades.
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and while the leading smoke detector companies do make photoelectric alarms, they still make most of their products without that technology. >> i think it's probably a business decision. >> reporter: the ionization detectors cost less money to make than the photoelectric? >> that is a correct statement. >> reporter: the companies told us all their detectors, photoelectric and ionization, provide adequate escape time and meet government safety standards. but russell says those standards for companies should be stricter. >> they will only respond when there is government pressure to do so. >> reporter: we went to the government agency overseeing the companies, the consumer products safety commission. arthur lee is a senior engineer there and told us the current standards work just fine. >> why not tell these smoke detector companies make sure to get that photoelectric technology into all of your detectors so you're covered completely? >> because both technologies are working. and saving lives. >> with all due respect, we know
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of several cases the smoke alarm that people say just did not go off. >> and those cases they need to practice a fire escape plan to make sure they can get out. >> but if the smoke detector didn't go off and the house is full of smoke by the time it does, what does an escape plan do? >> it helps them escape better when the smoke alarm eventually goes off. >> reporter: don russell calls that ridiculous. and while ionization technology works well in some fires, experts and the industry say it's best to have both technologies in your home. you can even buy a dual detector. but it's harder to find and more expensive. of course, having any smoke alarm is better than none at all. but even with the best technology your family still may not be as safe as you think. [ beeping ] that sound is piercing. so why aren't these kids waking up?
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>> coming up -- will your smoke detector keep your children safe? >> this could be a real fire right now. >> it's so scary. >> when "dateline" continues. ld. but there are some things i've never seen before. this ge jet engine can understand 5,000 data samples per second. which is good for business. because planes use less fuel, spend less time on the ground and more time in the air. suddenly, faraway places don't seem so...far away. ♪ with command strips from 3m. designed to stick and eliminate odors anywhere. like this overflowing trashcan. to test it, we brought in the scott family. so what do you smell? beach house and you're looking out over the ocean. some place like, uh, hawaii in like a flower field. take your blindfolds off. aw man! [ screams ] [ laughs ] that smells good. i wouldn't even just put it in the trash, i'd put it in every room.
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it's the golden rule of home safety. smoke detectors save lives. but as you've seen here tonight, now another hidden danger. an eye opener for parents. imagine if your house is on fire and you can't reach your kids. if you're lucky, the alarm is going off, blaring. but can you count on it to wake everyone up?
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as we'll explain, kids sleep differently than you and i do. and that difference could mean everything when precious seconds are slipping away. >> i'm so nervous. >> reporter: so "dateline" set up a test at this house outside hartford, connecticut, home to the hollander family. parents michelle and josh and their three boys, 9-year-old duncan, 8-year-old hudson, and 4-year-old sawyer. first we install infrared cameras in the kids' bedrooms. then we tell the boys what we're doing, a story about sleeping and smoke detectors. >> this is captain lynch. >> hi, guys. >> reporter: we even have a local fire captain give them a safety lesson. >> what would you do if you heard that sound in the middle of the -- >> i would get up and i would get on the ground and crawl. >> reporter: but here's what we don't tell the kids. that days later we're coming back in the middle of the night
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as they sleep, working with their parents to see how they'd react in a real fire. >> good night. >> reporter: will they wake up when that alarm sounds? >> i'm hoping they get up and, you know -- >> know what to do. >> know what to do. >> reporter: we're watching them on a monitor downstairs. the hollander boys are fast asleep, and our fire captain sounds the alarm. >> there it goes. [ beeping ] >> reporter: seconds go by. then a minute. >> not a single one of them is moving. >> reporter: then two minutes. watch. the boys keep sleeping. >> this could be a real fire right now. >> and they would sleep right through it. no, it's so scary that the kids could sleep through this. >> reporter: the boys have slept for close to three minutes. the captain says these children should have gotten up and out to safety by now. even the seasoned fire captain is shaken.
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>> i expected them to wake up and they would be a little disoriented and not remember what i told them to do. but i certainly didn't expect them to sleep through it. >> did you hear that fire alarm going off? >> no. >> didn't hear it at all? >> did you hear that fire alarm? >> no. >> didn't hear it at all? it was beeping so loud right outside your room. >> reporter: our results are disturbing. but dr. gary smith says he sees this kind of thing all the time. >> it would astound you at how loud the sounds can get and the children continue to sleep through them. >> reporter: dr. smith is a researcher at ohio's nationwide children's hospital and has been studying smoke detectors and sleeping children for years. >> how do children sleep differently than adults? >> they sleep very differently than adults. first of all, they spend more time in sleep. also, while they're asleep, spend more time in the deepest parts of sleep. and those are the parts of sleep that it's hardest to awaken from. >> reporter: so what does wake them up? dr. smith invited "dateline"
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into his sleep lab as he tested different alarm sounds on kids 12 and under to see what would work. hooking them up to sleep monitors. as we and their parents watch their responses live. first the traditional alarm most of us have. >> three, two, one. go. [ beeping ] >> reporter: within seconds two of the kids wake up and get to the door. great. but dr. smith says the other four take too long or don't wack up at all. >> as a mom what is it like to watch this? >> it's scary. she's wasting valuable time sleeping. >> reporter: but here's something dr. smith says may work better. >> ben, wake up. get out of bed. >> reporter: the sound of a parent's voice. to show us, his team had those same moms record a personal alarm. >> aaron, aaron, wake up. >> reporter: would that alarm wake their kids up? the team sent the children back to bed and waited until they
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were back in a deep sleep, then set off the new alarm in each room. >> theresa. theresa. wake up. get out of bed. >> reporter: while two of the kids didn't stir at all, the other four did, waking up almost immediately. all of them getting out of bed in just seconds. >> wow, look at her jumping up. >> that was a big change. >> reporter: the researchers don't know what it is about a parent's voice that seems to work better at waking children. >> we're currently doing the studies now to figure out was it the child's first name? was it the mother's voice? was there some other component? >> r.j. r.j. >> reporter: right now personalized voice alarms aren't main strael. they're sold online in small numbers. manufacturers do sell detectors with a generic computerized voice like this. >> fire. fire. >> reporter: until more research is done, everyone agrees, hang on to your traditional alarms and have an escape plan. in fact, dr. smith says you should have an alarm inside
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every bedroom. and make sure each adult in the house has a designated child to wake up in a real fire. >> that requires preparation, planning, and practice. >> reporter: and that's exactly what the hollanders are doing, after watching their kids sleep through what could have been a real emergency. now creating a new escape plan for the whole family. >> so from now on if you hear that smoke alarm going off -- >> i'm running. there's no other choice. >> to wake them up. >> yes. i'm running to wake them up because they're not waking up without me. >> coming up -- you think your online life is private. think again. >> what? >> it's all out there. and so easy to find. >> in 15 minutes we got everything. >> it freaks me out. and later -- they're in toys, canned food, hand soap, even toothpaste. chemicals in products we use every day. >> all the bpa is soaking type the --
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>> oozing in there. >> "dateline's" andrea canning puts herself on the line and agrees to test her own body for certain chemicals. when "dateline" continues. is really made of cheese? [ crisp crunches ] whoo-hoo-hoo! guess it was. [ male announcer ] pringles, bursting with more flavor. with a smartphone from straight talk wireless. was. she'll get the same nationwide coverage for half the cost. let's see if she notices. call bill.
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these days it seems like everything in our lives is stored on a computer somewhere. is private. but we found out the surprisingly simple ways a stranger can gain access to no high-tech magic necessary.
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here's natalie morales. >> have you ever done a reading before? >> no. >> first time. >> okay. >> reporter: he's the amazing kavoris. >> the house you're living now has a hill with large trees, large field? >> reporter: and he knows everything about this person he just met. >> i see sometimes difficulty keeping up with the rent. >> yeah, you could say that. >> i'm seeing a hot dog. >> actually, i have a hot dog costume at my house. >> i don't want you to feel that i'm guessing. it comes and i spit it out. >> the hot dog costume. >> reporter: azing? yes. is he using unseen and unknown special abilities? >> i hate -- >> you -- >> i hate that. it freaked me out. >> reporter: far from it. his powers aren't supernatural at all. in fact, he's doing something anyone can do. using digital information that could be a gold mine for identity thieves, hackers, or
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anyone you don't want knowing your personal business. >> so privacy is dead? >> privacy is dead, buried. there's a stake through its heart. >> reporter: we recruited steven robb to show us just how dead it is. he's a private investigator who also lectures on the topic of eroding privacy in the digital age. an age where everything about everyone can be found online. >> bit by bit by bit. drip, drip, drip. it gets out there. today you give out one piece of information. tomorrow you give another piece of information. and before you even have a chance to think about it, everything is out there. >> reporter: and to show how easy it is to find all that information once it's out there. >> a little light on him. >> reporter: we pulled people off the street, asked them if they'd like to be part of a "dateline" story, and meet with someone who may have special powers. just before they arrived and during their reading, rombon and a team of fellow investigators
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dug up the goods on each of them. armed with just basic information like name, age, e-mail, they accessed public information from social media sites to online government records. >> hunter. he's a hunter. has a hunting license. >> you're a hunter. >> reporter: and we sent it all to the amazing kevorik, another investigator who was wearing an earpiece. here's 24-year-old brittany, who we plucked from a manhattan sidewalk. >> and i'm getting a name angela. maybe a relative. >> that's my mom. >> and you like grapes? >> yes. >> okay. but not grape soda. >> not flavored soda. >> reporter: the amazing kevoris then got measuredly more personal. >> ask if these numbers mean anything to her. >> i'm just getting some numbers here. 32-24-36. >> wait. 32-24-36. i think that's my measurements. >> reporter: but he really surprised her with this. >> do you have a tattoo? >> yeah. >> of a heart, it's on your
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wrist? >> yeah. that's weird. >> you keep that private, for people close to you. >> yeah. >> it was time to tell brittany the amazing kevoris wasn't really psychic. >> hi. well, he's actually a guy named ted, and he is a private investigator. >> i knew it. >> undercover investigator. >> come with me and i'll show you our setup in the back. >> reporter: so how did we know so much about brittany? well, rombon's team had a lot to work with, including brittany's own thousands of online tweets. that's how we knew her quirky likes and dislikes. turns out she's an aspiring model and actress. we found her measurements posted as part of an online modeling contest. and a google image search revealed her tattoo. >> we only had about 15 minutes to background you. and in 15 minutes we got everything. we got your mom, your dad, everywhere you lived. we got your little scary dog there. >> my beautiful photo. >> reporter: and even though she
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aims to be in the public eye, brittany was taken aback by how much we had dug up on her so quickly. >> this kind of stuff freaks me out. >> 99% of what we got you put up there. and you can never get it back. it's there forever. it's your permanent record. >> reporter: but even if you aren't oversharing on social media, your information is still out there for the taking. as our next subject, melissa, discovered, the billions of pages of digital public records from court documents to professional licenses can yield even more than a facebook page. >> husband is tim. contractor. >> your spouse is timothy? >> yes. >> okay. and he's very handy, yeah? >> yeah. >> she had an arizona real estate license which is not active right now. >> okay. she was in real estate. did she do real estate? >> and when your children were younger, you made a living dealing in real estate? >> i did, yes. >> reporter: but what really surprised melissa about our
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demonstration was that we found a court record that told us something she didn't know herself. >> that you're wanted for escape second degree. >> what? >> on your ticket. it's not a big deal. it just means you have to go and answer one of those traffic tickets. >> i honestly didn't know that. >> reporter: melissa learned she had no control over the fact that her traffic tickets are on the internet. >> very well. how are you, sir? >> reporter: our next subject learned that something even scarier was online for the taking. >> please tell me if it means anything to you. what are they? >> that's my social security number. >> reporter: that's right. with just a few key strokes we were able to get the full social security number for a man we had just met. rombon and his team used a website for law enforcement and investigators to find it in order to illustrate the point. but he says there are plenty of ways, legal and otherwise, to find a social security number online. >> and then once you have a social security number --
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>> you own the person. everything is indexed to that social security number. >> were you surprised by any of the -- >> no. >> -- any of the information you got? >> in fact, we could have gathered exponentially more information. >> information is the lifeblood for investigators. but rombon says they aren't the one doing most of the collecting. >> the biggest invaders of your privacy are not big brother. it's big marketer. it's people who want to sell you stuff. >> reporter: marketers are gobbling up the data websites collect on us, he says, and whether we know it or not we're giving them permission to do it. by clicking "agree" on the terms of use, you may be letting a site or app document what you do, track your location, possibly even share your info with anyone they like. >> should we be worried about that? >> you should be creeped out beyond belief. >> reporter: but in a world lived increasingly online it's becoming that much harder to keep personal information and habits private.
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and if you think that all those passwords you use to keep your information secure will protect you, think again. >> the google password that i had that was broken, it was 19 characters long. it had letters, numbers, and symbols in it. >> that didn't protect you? >> no. coming up -- it's so low-tech, so simple, anyone can do it. how surprisingly easy it may be to steal or destroy your online information. >> it was absolutely shocking. >> that easy? >> it was that easy. >> when "dateline" continues. home from college sn along with a few friends... jimbo and carol whether it's the new kenmore elite refrigerator... or the new kenmore elite front load washer and dryer... no one gives you more capacity... so you'll be prepared for any challenge bye guys! kenmore. tested for living. found at sears.
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what sort of nightmare would you be in if your entire digital life had suddenly vanished? you couldn't log into e-mail, couldn't see your photos, compose a tweet, or even turn on your smartphone to call for help. for matt honen it wasn't a bad dream. it really happened. >> it was absolutely shocking. i had no idea that that was even really something that i might have to worry about. >> reporter: matt, a senior writer for the tech magazine "wired" is one of the last people you'd expect to get hacked. he should know better than most people how to protect his account. but last august hackers took
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control of his entire digital life, including everything he stored in his cloud, and they torched it all. >> they wipe out your account that also has the pictures of your newborn daughter on it, right? >> right. and i didn't know if i'm going to get them back or not. i was pretty distraught about that. >> reporter: matt responded to his hack as a reporter rather than a victim and set out to uncover how the hackers had gotten in. >> you actually had an exchange with one of the people responsible for hacking you. is that right? >> that's right. and told him that i wouldn't press charges if he explained it to me. >> reporter: and what the hacker explained was so simple it shocked the tech writer. we won't give you every detail about how they did it. but starting with only matt's name, e-mail, and address, info they found online, the hackers called amazon customer support pretending to be him and tricked the representative into giving them a new password. >> once in my account they could see the other credit cards i had
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on file with amazon, just the last four digits. but it turns out those last four digits were all that they needed to get a password reset from apple. so next they called apple and gave them those numbers and with that were in. >> that easy? >> it was that easy. >> from apple they got into his google account, then twitter. the hackers call this low-tech trick social engineering. and it can render even the strongest password useless. >> the reality is it's a good old con job, right? >> yeah, absolutely. >> how effective is it in this digital age? >> oh, it's super effective. to give you some indication, the google password that i had that was broken was 19 characters long. it had letters, numbers, and symbols in it. >> that didn't protect you, though. >> no. >> reporter: matt has reported extensively on password security. as a result amazon, apple, p paypal, and aol have all changed how they issue new passwords. but according to matt, many other online companies still aren't doing enough. to find out we chose three large and well-known internet
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companies. eb ebay, netflix, and expedia. and called customer service for each, claiming to be locked out of our accounts. again we won't reveal every step of the process, but on the phone we gave them real information about ourselves, a few basic facts that could be found on the internet or flat out guessed, just as matt's hackers had done. ebay gave us a new password right over the phone. >> is that case sensitive? >> reporter: weeks later we tried again but were told that ebay's policies had just changed. >> and there's no way to get a temporary password? >> reporter: but we called back just minutes later and a different customer service rep did change our password over the phone. >> okay. i'm ready for that temporary password. >> reporter: we called netflix four times. twice for security customer service reps wouldn't change the password unless we could tell them the last four digits of the credit card on file. >> i don't have that. >> reporter: but on two other
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calls they quickly changed our netflix password without those credit card numbers. >> thank you so much. >> reporter: expedia told us they won't change a password on the phone, they'll send you an e-mail with a link to reset it yourself. so we tried something a hacker might do. we opened a new e-mail account and asked them to send the link to that e-mail, not the one that they had on file. and they did all three times we called. >> okay. so you sent the new password to that e-mail account? >> reporter: when we logged back into our accounts, there was credit card data for the taking. and on expedia, a full passport number. >> what could somebody do with that? >> you can use a passport number on tax forms. they could tie a credit car card to your name, open a new bank account. >> what should you do? >> to some extent there's nothing you can do other than demanding better security from the companies you do business with. >> reporter: all three companies, ebay, netflix, and expedia, told us they are continually reviewing and strengthening their password
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security procedures. expedia said they try to balance privacy with customer convenience. ebay also said that the representative who gave us a new password on the phone made a serious mistake in violation of their policies. because we can't just quit the internet, matt says we have to make the best of the current situation. back up your data regularly and don't make it easy for hackers to guess their way into your account. >> the most common password that people use is "password." and the second most common i believe is 12345. what's a worse problem is that people use the same password on one site and on another. >> i do that. >> really? you should stop doing that. >> thanks. >> you should really stop doing that. >> reporter: matt, it turns out, was lucky. his hackers were just teenagers looking to steal his catchy twitter handle, @mat, not drain his bank accounts. as for that precious data he lost -- >> you were able to recover those pictures of your newborn.
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how much did that mean to you? >> it was very meaningful to me. you know, those are things that are completely not replaceable. coming up -- the chemicals in the things you and your kids use every day. what do you know about them? >> there's a good chance it's bpa. >> and do some of them get into our bodies? what will "dateline" testing find? and coming up later on "dateline" -- he could be a poster boy for living the good life. but this is the poster he's on now. join the hunt for one of the least likely fugitives ever to make the fbi's ten most wanted list. >> i always thought that he would be caught within a month or two. then a year went by. then two years went by. then five years went by. that can help the fbi bring him in. [ male announcer ] fact: the 100% electric nissan leaf...
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you've seen them on packaged food, cosmetics, soap, even toothpaste. those long lists of ingredients. thousands of chemicals are in everyday products. and yet what do we know about them? andrea canning decided to have herself and her kids tested for some of those chemicals. the result -- something she didn't expect. >> see these right here? >> reporter: these scenes probably look familiar.
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a busy mother of three trying to manage dinner. >> chocolate. >> yeah, yummy chocolate. >> reporter: play time. bath. and even beauty. through it all we're using plastics, soaps, makeup. everyday things which contain chemicals. with thousands of chemicals around us, how much do we really know about how any of them affect us? >> all right. >> reporter: so i agreed to have myself and my little girls tested for three chemicals that are part of a group called hormone disruptors. the fda and other agencies say these chemicals are safe at low levels. not everyone agrees. >> are they dangerous? >> i think that the scientific data that we have, particularly on low levels, suggests very strongly that you can during development have a higher propensity for getting things like breast cancer or prostate cancer.
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>> reporter: emily rissman, a widely published professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the university of virginia, says research has found an association between some hormone disruptors and a range of potential problems, including childhood obesity, autism, and infertility. >> what are hormone disruptors? >> they're kind of like masqueraders. hormone masqueraders. >> reporter: hormones attach to cells much like a key fits in a lock. they regulate things like growth, fertility, and brain development. when hormone disruptors mimic them, they can upset normal hormone activity, particularly in fetuses, young children, and teens. dr. rhysman has studied how one hormone disruptor affects mice. you've probably heard of it. it's called bisphenol a, or bpa. >> we see where bisphenol over and over again in mice and rats causes anxiety. and we're not talking about i think like adhd. >> reporter: but critics of the research say the negative effects of hormone disruptors are seen only at levels far higher than what a person would
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normally encounter. >> some people call you an alarmist. >> mm-hmm. >> that your research is scaring people. unnecessarily. >> that's their prerogative. i mean, i'm jut reporting the data. it's in peer-reviewed journals. and i can replicate it. and those are the criteria for scientists. >> reporter: according to the centers for disease control, 90% of americans have hormone disruptors in their bodies. >> it's at the point now where hundreds of chemicals have been found in umbilical cords. so babies are literally being born prepolluted these days. >> reporter: environmental advocates rick smith and bruce laurie hold advanced degrees in biology and environmental studies. they have written a book about hormone disruptors called "slow death by rubber duck." i asked them to take a tour of my home to help identify where hormone disruptors might be. >> we're going to open your cupboards. >> sure. go ahead. >> take a look at a few things, what's in there.
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>> reporter: laurie goes right to the kids' sippy cups. >> it is a 7 which says other, so we don't exactly know. >> reporter: it's hard to see it but he's referring to the recycling symbol on the bottom of the cup. generally chemicals like bpa can be found in number 7. >> there's a good chance with a 7 it's bpa. i'd avoid this cup. >> reporter: but he also discovers that several of our cups are labeled bpa-free. >> five years ago we would have never seen that "no bpa" on the bottom of something. >> reporter: many of us know bpa is found in plastics but not everyone knows that it's also in the lining of many tin cans like this can of diced tomatoes. >> and what happens, of course, is that especially with an acidic product like tomatoes it draws the bpa out of the plastic lining into the product. >> a little bit impertinent here. >> it's okay. >> investigating your bathroom cupboards. >> reporter: next stop, the bathroom, where smith immediately zeros in on my beauty products. he says some of these products contain another hormone disruptor called phthalates, but
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some of them don't. there's no way to know for sure since manufacturers are not required to label them. >> fragrance. >> reporter: smith says the words fragrance or parfum can be clues that they might be there. phthalates could also be in my children's soft plastic toys. phthalates were banned from toys in 2008. but smith says toys made before that often contain them. >> really the problem with these toys happens when kids put them in their mouth. >> do we need to be extra cautious about our kids? >> yeah, definitely. because kids, their bodies are just developing. their brains are just developing. >> reporter: we've taught our kids to wash their hands frequently. but their favorite hand soap, made by dial, was something laurie was especially concerned about. >> hello kitty anti-bacterial foaming hand wash. and as soon as you see anti-bacterial, that's your clue to turn it over and take a look at the label. triclosan. >> reporter: laurie says that
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unlike some hormone disruptors triclosan is required to be clearly labeled. that's because it's a registered anti-mike robial pesticide, previously used primarily in hospitals to kill bacteria and viruses. we found hormone disruptors throughout my home. so smith and laurie designed a test using well-established scientific protocols. with me as the guinea pig. to show how some simple choices can help you control the levels of hormone disruptors in your system. >> we just want to show people how direct the relationship is between using the products and having the chemicals in your body. >> reporter: the fda hasn't set a standard for what can be considered safe levels for any of these chemicals. what were my levels? we began with a baseline test and learned that i did in fact have bpa, phthalates, and triclosan in my body. >> so my baseline was pretty normal? >> yeah. slightly higher, slightly lower from the american mean. >> reporter: the next step -- to try and eliminate hormone
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disruptors to get my numbers as close to zero as possible. i changed my makeup, lotions, and soaps to products that were phthalate and triclosan free. i avoided bpa and ate fresh food, nothing from a can. every four hours or so -- >> here we go. >> reporter: -- we took a urine sample. >> what happened to me? >> your levels dropped, you know, dramatically. >> it plummeted. >> plummeted. >> reporter: we had brought my levels way down. but could we drive them up too? we would find out. day two we went back to using products we suspected contained hormone disruptors. i used makeup that may have been made with phthalates. breakfast was oatmeal microwaved in a hard clear plastic cup most likely containing bpa. and v-8 from a can. >> all the bpa is soaking into the -- >> yeah. >> reporter: for lunch, soup from a can, canned pineapple, and a diet coke. >> and all of these cans are lined with bpa.
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>> reporter: and for dinner -- yes. break out the can opener again. canned string beans, spaghetti and meatballs, and another diet soda. i also washed my hands with dial anti-bacterial hand wash and brushed my teeth with colgate total. both containing triclosans. >> we gave you a bunch of well-known brands to use, things that millions of americans use every day. >> reporter: day three, back to trying to avoid the chemicals in question. and then we sent our samples off to the lab. meanwhile, we had also done a baseline test on my three little girls to find out what levels of hormone disruptors they had in their bodies. two weeks later, my results come back and so do my daughters'. >> coming up -- what andrea learned from the tests. >> i have to say i didn't know if it really would be such a dramatic spike. >> i don't think that it ought to scare people, but i think that is a consequence. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪
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after becoming a human guinea pig my results were back from the lab. we sat down with environmental advocates bruce lourie and rick >> was our experiment a success? >> in the way we're defining success. >> well, yes. >> reporter: success in this
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i didn't know if it really would be such a dramatic spike. >> reporter: then after once again eliminating the chemicals in my diet and daily routine my levels returned to nearly zero. the chemicals had been quickly eliminated from my body through urine. >> did great. >> reporter: at the beginning of all this i also had my children tested. >> all your kids had detectible levels of bpa. all your kids had detectible levels of phthalates and measurable levels of triclosan. >> reporter: the fda supported a ban on bpa in baby bottles and sippy cubs in 2012. so we'll never know how bpa ended up in my babies' urine. >> bpa in baby bottles is the tip of the iceberg p. >> reporter: as for triclosan the baby's level was ten times higher than the national mean. for my 2-year-old, well, her triclosan level was nearly 100 times the national average for much older children. we can't say for sure which products contributed to the chemical levels in any of our tests.
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>> are you concerned about my family in any way by what you saw? >> i'm not. i'm not. >> reporter: dr. joe schwartz, a chemist and the director of the office of science and society at magill university, says the levels in our tests are not dangerous. >> does it bother you at all, the levels you saw in my daughters that seem pretty high? >> no. that doesn't bother me because they are way below the levels that are deemed to be toxic. >> reporter: dr. schwartz says smith and lourie are activists who are blowing the issue out of proportion. >> i think they tend to be alarmist. >> reporter: you think they're trying scare people? >> i don't think they're on purpose out to scare people, but i think that is a consequence. >> reporter: the fda told us it has determined that bpa and phthalates are safe as currently used in fda-regulated products. adding "the presence of these chemicals in urine does not necessarily translate into an adverse effect on the body." the national american metal packaging alliance and some food and beverage companies say the
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fda has found bpa is safe for use in food packaging and that bpa helps preserve and protect food and maintain its nutritional value and quality. as for phthalates, the american chemistry council noted that there is no reliable evidence that any phthalate has ever caused a health problem for a human from its intended use. >> well, this immediately grabs my attention. >> reporter: but when it comes to the chemical triclosan, which we found in dial liquid anti-bacterial soap and colgate total toothpaste, dr. schwartz says you're better off without it. >> triclosan is quite a different story from the phthalates and the bisphenol a that we've been chatting about. and i would say that i would avoid that because it isn't necessary. >> reporter: he says he would avoid it not because it's a hormone disruptor but because frequent use may increase bacterial resistance to antibiotics. that's why the american medical association wants triclosan removed from consumer products.
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>> anytime that you're using an anti-bacterial substance you are provoking potential for resistance. >> reporter: while the fda is reviewing triclosan, the american cleaning institute, a lobbying group representing the producers of cleaning products, said in a letter to "dateline" that triclosan has been extensively studied and deemed to be safe. dial and the makers of colgate total agree. the aci added that it is "regrettable that "dateline" is relying upon test procedures set up by activists who rely on junk science and publicity stunts to try and scare consumers." and so it is a debate that promises to continue. if you decide to reduce your family's exposure to these particular hormone disruptors, what do you need to know? >> bpa-free. >> reporter: smith and lourie took us shopping to find out. phthalates, for example, usually aren't listed on the label. but if you see the words "fragrance" or "parfum" phthalates might be in the product.
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>> so a lot of these brands would -- actually advertise the fact that they're phthalate-free. >> fragrance-free on the bottle. >> fragrance-free. >> reporter: if you want to avoid bpa, remember, it's often in plastics with recycling number 7. opt for fresh or frozen produce. and microwave your food in glass containers. >> this is the switch i'm making. that i'm actually going to buy today. >> should you get a couple? >> reporter: as for triclosan, you can easily find it listed on the label. >> you can just start making more informed choices, ask questions in the store, read the labels. >> reporter: with thousands of chemicals out there and new information coming out every day, that's exactly what i will be doing for my family. asking more questions and reading more labels. >> several of the companies we included told us they are working to devise alternatives to bpa in the lining of cans. to hear more from the companies and learn more about the stories
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in our first hour, go to our website at and now our second hour of "dateline." the boy next door makes the fbi's ten most wanted list. >> on the surface everything looked normal with this guy. >> he's a surfer dude, a former eagle scout, a mormon missionary, and a suspected killer. >> did you believe he was capable of doing something like that? >> no. >> tonight, join the hunt as the fbi searches for one of its ten most wanted fugitives. >> when his face was put on tv, a friend called him. >> and he hit the road. >> he's a ghost. >> and then, keep your eyes open because this guy could be hiding anywhere. >> i don't think i've ever seen anybody like this. >> chris hansen on the trail of the fugitive. it reads like a litany of the nation's most notorious criminals.
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the fbi's ten most wanted list has chronicled america's infamous from james earl ray to ted bundy and the centennial park bomber. today it is populated with accused murderers, drug traffickers, and child pornographers. >> most of these folks have committed more than one crime, more than one very serious crime, rapes and murders. so these are very dangerous people. >> reporter: the task of finding those fugitives falls to this man. ron hoscoe. the assistant director of the fbi's criminal investigative division, who runs the ten most wanted program. almost 500 accused criminals have made the most wanted list in its 62-year history. and for most of them that was the beginning of the end. >> we've cleared 466 of those. not all of those are by arrest. some of those are in custody. they've turned up dead. but 94% clearance rate is a tremendously successful program. >> reporter: but it's the other
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6% that keep hosko and his agents up at night. >> a wily fugitive who drops under the horizon can present a significant challenge to us. >> reporter: and even amid the top ten list's encyclopedia of criminality the story of one particularly wily fugitive stands out. you might know him and not even realize it. he could live across town, down the block, or maybe even closer. and if you know where to find him, the fbi could make it worth your while. this fugitive's catch me if you can story began on the kind of day that makes wintering in phoenix look appealing. it was reporter dave sislak's beat. >> it's a really quiet community. a low crime area. and when it happened, we heard it was awatuki, it was pretty surprising. >> reporter: what happened, what surprised and shocked everyone here, happened shortly after 10:00 a.m. on november 29th,
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2004, monday on thanksgiving weekend. an armored car made its way to the multiplex theater in the ahwatukee mall to pick up the holiday weekend box office. the driver pulled up in front of the amc and his partner, robert keith palomares walked quickly into the theater. palomares picked up the holiday weekend cash from a manager, signed a receipt for the $56,000, and headed back out to the truck. before the courier reached the safety of his fortified vehicle, six gunshots shattered the mall's morning quiet. the gunman snatched the money bag. a security camera captured a glimpse of him dropping the bag, then picking it up before he bolted into an alley. he jumped onto a bicycle and raced away, leaving keith palomares bleeding on the pavement. witnesses reached for their cell phones. >> 911, what is your emergency? >> there was about five shots fired. it was -- it was quite a few shots that rung out.
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it sounded like one gun. >> reporter: the armored truck's driver, who didn't see the shooting, called his office and following policy, stayed inside the truck. >> 911, what is your emergency? >> my daughter just called and said our guard is down, he's been shot, and he's been shot several times. please get somebody there. >> 911. what is your emergency? >> listen, the officer, he's still moving. we need an ambulance here fast. >> we'll get some help there, sir. >> oh, this guy is die -- i mean, oh, man, we've got to get an plans here. he's dying. >> reporter: when paramedics arrived a few minutes later, they could do nothing for the man on the ground. keith palomares's life was cut short and his young wife widowed. his violent death confirmed his mother lena's worst fears about her son's dangerous job. >> this man has taken my life, my heart. my joy. my reason of living. my son.
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>> reporter: a time zone west in coachella, california keith palomares's brother derek got a call at work from his grandmother. >> she was on the phone crying, hysterically crying. >> she couldn't get it out? >> yeah, just came home and in this very room we're in right now she told me that your brother was shot and killed. >> right in this kitchen where we're sitting? >> yes. i just fell to my knees. i could not even hold myself up. >> reporter: growing up, derek idolized his older brother. >> he taught me how to play baseball. charismatic. full of life. loving, caring. very protective. >> reporter: the killing that shattered the palomares family was also the beginning of an incredible manhunt. >> we get the call of a shooting at the amc theaters. >> reporter: veteran phoenix homicide investigator paul dalton caught the case. >> our detectives went out there, and the fbi, and just started the investigation. >> reporter: there was little for them to start with. despite a police rapid response
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that included helicopters, checkpoints, and dogs. more witnesses had heard than seen the shooting. >> and i was about halfway back to my truck and the shots were fired. >> reporter: the few eyewitnesses they could find described seeing a white or hispanic man wearing a dark hoodie who rode away from the theater on a mountain bike. >> he was like pedaling hard. like too hard just to begin to cross the street. >> reporter: the killer who vanished on a bicycle now had the fbi on his trail because armored car theft is a federal offense. for lance lysing, the fbi's lead agent, it th was more than just another robbery. >> desperation causes people to do crazy things. he could easily do that again. >> reporter: people in phoenix were horrified by the killing. dave sislak covered the story for the "arizona republic." >> this was a different kind of event where a guy who was simply trying to do his job was taken out for no reason. the community was upset.
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and they wanted answers. >> reporter: the fbi's search for those answers would put them on the trail of a most unlikely fugitive, a fugitive who agents would learn began life as that nice boy next door, an athlete, eagle scout, and religious missionary, but who grew up, they allege, to be a con man, gambler, and accused killer, a path that would one day put him on the fbi's most wanted list. coming up -- investigators get a huge break when they find the bike the suspected killer used to escape. there's a fingerprint on it. and it leads to a photo. a picture that tells a chilling story. >> you can see the smirk on jason's face in that photo. it's an interesting shot. i mean, he's purchasing the instrument he's going to use to kill this guy.
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in the hours after the murder of armored car courier keith palomares detectives and forensic experts were trying to piece together just what happened. they had only the vaguest description of their suspect, a white or hispanic male of average build and average height on a mountain bike. >> we were covering hundreds of tips about a guy on a bicycle in the ahwatukee area. >> reporter: fbi agent lance licing was working the case with phoenix homicide detective paul dalton. their crime scene was a mess, strewn with blood, fragments of six high-velocity bullets, and broken glass from a ticket counter window shattered by the only round that missed keith palomares.
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>> the body was right here. >> right. >> did he even see it coming? >> i don't think so. we could guess. his gun was in his holster. >> he never got it out. >> never got it out. >> the witnesses out here didn't hear a single demand for money. it was immediately gunshots. >> bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. >> reporter: their first break, a huge one, came the afternoon of the robbery. a police helicopter pilot spied an abandoned bicycle in a drainage area about a half mile east of the theater. he alerted searchers below. >> the detective that was there immediately called our crime scene people, and before they moved, it let's swab it for dna. let's print it real quick. >> reporter: as the crime lab processed the bicycle, officers interviewed workers and shoppers in the mall. what they heard made them think the robbery had been some time in the planning. >> and we started talking to those people. and they said, well, there was
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this silver bmw with this guy watching for a couple weeks. >> reporter: but what could be the connection between the driver of the expensive sports car and their suspect on the bicycle dressed like a day laborer? their answer came the next day. with a match to a fingerprint lifted off that abandoned bicycle. >> i got a name. here's his name. jason derek brown. and we're like, okay, well, who is he? >> reporter: who indeed? jason derek brown's fingerprint was in the national crime information center computer because of an arrest four years earlier for stealing golf clubs from a north carolina sporting goods store. after the fingerprint off the bike had given investigators brown's name, another federal computer spit out the next clue. >> we got the name of jason brown and we started looking at everything. we ran with the help of bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms, we ran through their data bases any gun purchases by him. and that pinged on the recent purchase up in salt lake. >> reporter: atf records indicated that a jason brown
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bought a handgun just a few weeks earlier in utah. it was almost midnight the day after the shooting when salt lake city-based fbi agents located firearms instructor clark aposhian. >> he had this little 3 series bmw, very nice-looking car. laid back. that southern california surfer type. >> reporter: he made room for brown in a class. >> he was very cocky. he was very arrogant. >> reporter: after some instruction using a glock 9-millimeter, brown took and passed the concealed carry test. aposhian fingerprinted and photographed him as required by utah law. then the student told the instructor he wanted to buy a handgun. the firearms expert tried to direct him to an easy to use small-caliber weapon. >> he wanted something bigger. he said, what's the most powerful? he was insistent he wanted the .45. >> reporter: brown bought a glock .45. and he proved just as particular about the ammo he wanted.
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>> he chose some of our very high-pressure, or very powerful ammunition. >> reporter: before the fbi agents left the gun shop, they downloaded the photo taken for brown's permit and send it to the task force in phoenix. >> you can see the smirk on jason's face in that photo. it's an interesting shot. i mean, he's purchasing the instrument he's going to use to kill this guard. and you can see his attitude about it. >> reporter: they now had a name, a face, and a vehicle for their lead suspect. the vehicle, that silver bmw, led memorandum to revisit a report of a suspicious person seen putting a mountain bike into a bmw at a motel about a mile south of the crime scene shortly before the murder. when phoenix police detectives got there, they learned that jason brown, using a salt lake city address, had stayed in room 261. forensic experts found little inside the room. but officers collected this surveillance video showing brown in the motel lobby the day of the killing.
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>> a tip to the hotel that corroborated some of that jason brown information, and then it just blossomed from there. >> reporter: now leads were pouring in. brown's cell phone records were subpoenaed, from cell towers cops triangulated his trail in the hours after the robbery. >> he goes to a 24 hour fitness near the area, goes in with a bag. he comes out, looks like he changes clothes, leaves the bag there for a while. comes back and gets it in a little bit. >> reporter: those telltale cell tower hits indicated that by early evening on the day of the robbery and murder brown was driving west out of phoenix. his phone logs indicated dozens of calls to family members in california. sure enough, two days later on wednesday bank records showed brown was making a cash deposit in a dana point, california branch. the cops felt they had cracked the case. a grand jury agreed and indicted jason derek brown for the murder of keith palomares. an arrest appeared imminent.
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>> we're getting close. zeroing in. >> reporter: but even as they seemed to be drawing ever closer to their prey, the fbi and phoenix homicide were also growing increasingly concerned that jason brown was far more cunning, desperate, and dangerous than nearly anyone they had encountered. coming up -- investigators are just minutes away from an arrest. but then -- >> the friend called him. >> and he hits the road. >> he's a ghost. >> when "dateline" continues. from the fuel-efficient ecoboost... to a plug-in hybrid with an epa-estimated 108 city mpge, it eliminates everything else from the picture. introducing the entirely new ford fusion. an entirely new idea of what a car can be.
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one week after the robbery guard keith palomares phoenix police detectives and fbi agents believed they were closing in on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution had been added to state murder charges. >> there are a lot of means to try to track people down. we used every one of them in that case. >> reporter: brown's cell phone logs, credit cards and bank records led investigators to believe their man had gone to ground with family. >> you guys were pretty sure he was in orange county, california.
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>> we felt like we were getting closer. it's never a sure thing. ever. >> reporter: in fact, seven days after the crime fbi agents were preparing to arrest brown. all their intelligence led them to believe he was hiding with his sister in ranch o margarita california. but that same morning phoenix police who were unaware of the planned raid called a news conference. they identified brown as the suspect and appealed for tips. dave sislak covered it for the "arizona republic." >> as a reporter we thought we were performing a service. >> be on the lookout. >> yeah. the mug shot was out. the surfer boy, you know, mug shot that everybody's seen to warn people be on the lookout for a dangerous gunman who just killed a guy in cold blood. >> reporter: just a few hours later police raided brown's sister's house. anyone looking out the window here might have thought a movie was being filmed. fbi agents and police swarm the block and storm the house. s.w.a.t. teams secured the scene. there was no trace of jason brown.
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brown's sister told the fbi he was gone, they just missed him. agents asked her that most critical question here in southern california. what was he driving? his silver bmw, she said. >> it just was a timing issue, and we missed him by 30 minutes or so. >> 30 minutes? >> yes. >> when his face was put on tv, a friend called him. i see your face on tv. what's going on? >> and he hits the road. >> he's a ghost. >> reporter: then it turned out that brown's sister lied to fbi agents. he hadn't escaped in that silver bmw. he was driving his cadillac escala escalade. >> we're used to people lying to us right away. that happens all the time. >> did that in any way hinder the investigation? >> initially on our radios and on our reports, but it didn't take long for the people, you know, quarterbacking that operation to say hey, we're not sure he's in the bmw. let's look for everything. >> reporter: one of brown's credit cards was used to buy gasoline south of orange county the day after the raid on his sister's house. >> we immediately went to the
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gas stations, reviewed the surveillance tapes and it's the escalade. we're looking for the escalade. >> reporter: brown was at least a day ahead of them as the fbi tracked his escape route with credit card receipts, traffic cameras, and surveillance video. they knew he went through san diego. >> he immediately goes south. heads towards the u.s.-mexican border. near tijuana. takes some money out of an atm there. he sends the package to his brother, david. >> after san diego what can you tell me about brown's movements? >> he drove north to portland, where he sent another package to david. >> and what was in that package? >> a gun. his brother's 9-millimeter glock that he had stolen from his house previously. sent back more clothing items, camera, some memory cards, several cds. >> any clues? >> a lot of clues to his past life, to who jason is. his ego wall is contained in these dis sxkz in that laptop. >> fbi agents had the family's post office box under
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surveillance and knew david brown received the shipments. >> why do you think he sent all that stuff to his brother david? >> well, i think he wanted to get rid of everything that associated him with his past life. i think he idolized a couple things in life. the movie "heat." he talked about the phrase in that movie. >> guy told me one time, don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around a corner. >> and i think that was part of that plan, that thought process that he idolized. he was just going to cut ties with everything that could ever connect him to jason brown and he was going to start a new identity. >> reporter: after he mailed that package to his brother from portland, brown went off the grid. no phone calls, no atm withdrawals, no credit card use. it was becoming evident to the agents on his trail that jason brown was far more resourceful than their usual demand note
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bank robber. his ability to fly under their radar led them to a dead end in oregon. but just as brown's west coast trail turned cold, another major lead was uncovered back in phoenix. after jason brown's photograph was broadcast across arizona, tips began flowing in. investigators were particularly intrigued by a story they heard from an aerospace engineer who had been camping here in the tonto national forest with his young son. >> he called. >> yeah. >> he saw the picture and immediately thought, hey, that was the guy shot my truck. probably don't forget that. >> reporter: the camper told cops about a man who identified himself as jason brown and had been target shooting paper plates in the desert the day before the robbery. he had confronted brown after jason accidentally fired a bullet into the door of his truck, causing $1,300 in damage. >> and jason grabbed a paper
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plate that he had ex-track, wrote his name and phone number down on a paper plate and gave it to him saying i'll pay for the -- >> damage to your truck. >> right. >> reporter: brown signed the plate and added his license tag number and the same salt lake city address he had used on his motel registration. when investigators examined the bullet recovered from the truck, they found it was the same brand and caliber as the rounds that killed keith palomares. with another link between brown and what they believed was the murder weapon, investigators felt they now had an ironclad case. but what good did it do if the suspected murderer of keith palomares remained at large? at a seeming dead end in their investigation, agents had to dig into jason brown's past to find out who he was, how he thought, and what his next move might be. and the more they dug, the more it appeared as if he had been born to run. coming up -- turns out jason
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brown's father also vanished. >> the apple didn't fall too far from that tree-w him and his son. >> do you think there's a possibility that jason is hiding out with his father, john? a fe. hi. i got a call today that you guys found my suitcase. we don't have it. you don't even know my name. [ sniffs ] are you wearing my sweater? [ male announcer ] good thing she hasn't noticed his pants. ♪ gain fireworks boosts the amazing scent for up to 12 weeks. ♪ [ sniffs ] ♪ do we hano.a mower? a trimmer? no. we got nothing. we just bought our first house, we're on a budget. we're not ready for spring. well let's get you ready. very nice. you see these various colors. we got workshops every saturday. yes, maybe a little bit over here. this spring, take on more lawn for less. not bad for our first spring. more saving.
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he became a ghost once. you know, he was aware we were looking for him, and that's when he went off the grid. >> reporter
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>> reporter: as the fbi ghost buffetters continue their search for jason brown, who had been charged with killing armored guard courier keith palomares, the fbi became perplexed by the behavior in the suspect. >> they risk 20 years of their life to rob a bank. this guy, though, jason, how he grew up, the opportunities he had in life to lead a good life and to be productive in society, i don't think i've ever seen anybody like this. whenever you're hunting a fugitive you get to know them. you go back deep into their family history. >> reporter: investigators believe that somewhere in brown's family history they would uncover some clue to his whereabouts. they discover their unlikely suspect grew up in the sunny affluence of orange county, california. raised on this block in laguna beach, just down the street from his grandparents. an eagle scout and first-rate athlete, brown graduated from laguna beach high school before attending college in idaho.
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then he served two years as a mormon missionary in france, where he became fluent in the language. and not long after he returned home, he married a fellow mission missionary in a temple ceremony in los angeles. he earned a master's degree in business administration. but somewhere on his path to a corporate corner office brown's marriage went south and his life took a sharp turn. as investigators dug deeper into jason brown's past, they found that by the time he had completed his mba he had undergone a fundamental transformation. the eagle scout and former missionary had reinvented himself as a player, a party boy with a taste for speedboats, sports cars, pretty women, and high-stakes gambling. cops concluded that the roots of the mystery could be traced back to childhood and his relationship with his father, john brown. >> his father was described as often going into tijuana to pick up large sums of money and then come back.
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having some side jobs but always having a large stack of cash. >> his father was a bit of a flimflam guy. >> yes. the apple didn't fall too far from that tree with him and his son. >> he learned from him. absolutely. >> reporter: a man of mystery with a criminal record. brown sr. was, like his boy, a gambler and player. he spoiled jason. >> had a sner spoon ilver spoon mouth. had money. had nice things. had a father who taught him how to get those nice things maybe without a traditional job. there were other pinthings in h past that lead to us believe he followed the path of his father. >> reporter: agents' suspicions were particularly heightened when they learned that brown's father john vanished in 1994:00 t , ten years before his fugitive son disappeared. >> do you think there's a possibility that jason is hiding out with his father, john? >> conspiracy theorists may believe that. i don't. >> reporter: jason's sister and
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brother declined to talk to "dateline," and investigators say they have been less than cooperative with them as well. fbi agents pressured david brown for information that might help them locate jason. but blood proved thicker than water. for instance, there was the matter of jason's silver bmw. >> david told us many times, i have no idea where it is. i have no idea where it is. ultimately, david, unbeknownst to us, traveled to las vegas, accessed one of jason's storage units in las vegas, and grabbed the bmw. not just to have it for himself but also to completely clean it out. >> reporter: david brown moved the vehicle to california and had it detailed. when the fbi found out, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to the felony of making a false statement. he got three years probation. >> how important would it have been to you in this investigation to get a good look at that bmw before david sanitized it? >> extremely important. we wanted fingerprints, the dna, the hairs.
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anything could have been in that vehicle. >> do you think his brother or any other family member knows more than they're letting on? >> i think it's extremely -- >> yes. >> -- difficult for somebody like jason, anybody, to go this long without ever communicating with friends or family. >> reporter: undeterred, investigators burrowed further, uncovering scam after scam their charming young fugitive had allegedly perpetrated. he excelled at buying things on credit. >> from boats to cars and everything, never paid for it. he walked on the lot and did the initial purchase, and they never saw him again. >> reporter: brown was also suspected of running a string of bogus businesses across the southwest. picture perfect modeling was the name of his texas venture. >> he had a modeling agency in austin, texas. >> yes. where he just conned female coeds from the university of texas to do modeling shoots with him. take $5,000 from them where he would just take the money and
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run and use it to meet women and move on. >> total scam? >> total scam. right. >> reporter: jason even posed for some modeling photos of himself in austin. but how did a man suspected of running con games become the violent criminal cops allege he is? >> for jason i think it came down to his greed, his desire for money, his desire to be that millionaire, the life of the party, and how that desire extends to the point where you can kill somebody, that's something i'll never understand. >> reporter: investigators might have been desparing of ever understanding jason brown, but they still had hopes of catching him. and the stakes were high. >> on the surface everything looks normal with this guy. but he is the portrait of a sociopath. and when he runs out of money again, then what happens? >> coming up -- the suspected killer who could easily be the guy next door.
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think you know your neighbor? she thought so. >> he was generous. he'd help people out. he'd golf with some of the neighbor guys. >> did you believe he was capable of doing something like that? >> no. >> when "dateline" continues. we replaced kate's smart phone with a smartphone from straight talk wireless. she'll get the same nationwide coverage for half the cost. let's see if she notices. call bill. i think she does.she just saved $950 a year. enough for riding lessons. straight talk wireless. same phones. same networks. half the cost.
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jason derek brown, the prime suspect in the killing of armored car courier keith palomares outside a phoenix movie theater, had vanished.
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six weeks after the crime cops found his getaway vehicle abandoned and vandalized at the portland, oregon international airport. >> what does that indicate to you? >> where that escalade was placed was a message, i believe jason wanted us to receive. and i think he wanted us to think that he was gone, that he took a flight out of that portland international airport and fled the country. >> reporter: in the months after the murder lance licing and other fbi agents interviewed his phoenix friends and neighbors, hoping they might help create a profile that might point them to brown. what they heard was contrary to what they expected. there was a surprising revelation from that camper who was out in the desert with his son when jason brown accidental liu fired a shot into his truck. while on the run, brown mailed him a cashier's check for $1,300 to cover the damage, along with a toys "r" us gift certificate for the young boy. >> jekyll & hyde personality. the personality that's so desperate enough that wants to kill somebody for money and then so charismatic enough that
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you're his best friend in the bar or you get -- you get a gift certificate to a child because he was scared. >> reporter: investigators also interviewed ellen robinson. she was a realtor who met jason brown while showing him a house on her block a year and a half before the crime. >> and he took a quick lap through the house, and he was really most interested in the garage. and he said yep, i'll take it all into -- >> and why was that? why the garage? >> he said he had a lot of toys to store. >> and what did he tell you he did for a living? >> he was an importer/exporter of golf equipment to asia. in his whole garage he had it full of golf balls and equipment. >> how was he as a neighbor? >> he was kind of like a big kid. he was generous. he'd help people out. he'd golf with some of the neighbor guys. kids would hang out with him. especially my son. he took us all boating once. >> reporter: mike campbell also lived on the same block as jason brown at the time, and the two were friends. he told the fbi jason owned all
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the toys a boy could want. >> a bmw. cadillac escalade. he had a jeep rubicon. a special edition boat. two quads. yamaha crotch rocket. and two dirt bikes. >> a lot of motors in one man's garage. >> correct. >> was he a player? >> he had that playboy mentality. i mean, from day one to the end it was, you know, money, money, money, money, money. hey, let's go out. you know, to the clubs and everything. he always paid for it. >> reporter: six months later brown abruptly moved out. he told friends a family member was ill in california. that was it. until a year later, two weeks before the shooting, when jason brown called ellen robinson and took her up on a standing offer to visit. brown proved to be a considerate houseguest during the ten days he stayed in robinson's spare room.
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>> he'd leave for the day as if he were going to work. and i remember one day i asked him, are you eating breakfast? get a bagel or something before you leave. and he said no, no, that's not right. i'm not going to eat your food. it's not right. that was it. >> reporter: investigators now believe that brown was parked in the ahwatukee mall staking out the armored truck's pickups during that time. three days before he allegedly robbed and killed keith palomares brown moved out of robinson's house to the motel. ten days after that robinson was stunned when she heard what brown was accused of doing. >> i just happened to have the tv on, and there was his picture. >> jason brown's picture? >> yes. >> and what are they saying about him? >> that he's wanted for murder of an armored car employee. i instantly picked up the phone and i left a message. it went to voicemail. and i said jason, you've got to fix -- something's wrong here. they think you did this and you've got to come straighten this poupt. >> did you believe he was capable of doing something like that? >> no.
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>> how can one person be so kind on one hand and so apparently evil on the other? >> i have no idea. you know, a murderer is not the person i was friends with. >> reporter: but she did remember one strange thing that happened when brown was house-sitting for her a year or so before the crime. >> i went out of town for a couple days. and i left jason in the house by himself. and my cat. and he said my cat would not even go in the same room as him. >> meaning the cat sensed something -- >> yes. >> -- bad about jason brown? >> yes. my cat was smarter than i was, i guess. i thought maybe it was that player thing, you know. he senses he's a player, too. >> reporter: mike campbell happened to work in a restaurant near the movie theater where keith palomares was killed. he knew the shooting victim, who sometimes picked up cash at campbell's job. >> what went through your mind when you learned it was keith who was the one who was killed? >> shock. man, i just saw him yesterday. now he's dead?
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and it's like, this can't be happening. >> and your former neighbor is accused of killing him. >> it's a double whammy. you kind of ask yourself, what in the world is going on? >> give me a sense for the information you've gotten from jason brown's friends, how he was acting just before the crime. >> most of them described him as depressed. he was sleeping on people's couches. he didn't have the money to live the lifestyle that he wanted to live. some of his associates described how he was watching shows about crime dramas. and he would talk to them about hey, armored car. that would be the way to go. if they were going to do a robbery armored car would be the one. >> reporter: they were developing a clearer profile of their suspect but they were not getting any closer to capturing jason brown. inevitably, the manhunt began to wear on investigators. >> we had pressure from our own
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department to solve this. we have pressure from the victim's family. and then we have pressure we put on ourselves. >> reporter: but that pressure would be ratcheted up even more because jason brown was about to join that most exclusive and notorious of clubs -- the fbi's ten most wanted list. coming up -- is jason brown's life on the run a life in the sun? >> what do you think the odds are that he's wangled his way into some woman's life someplace and he's being supported and she has no idea she's living with an accused killer? >> i think that is the leading theory. [ male announcer ] badder, bolder -- the hot 'n spicy mcchicken. revving up the dollar menu with a blend of savory spices to set your taste buds off. get hold of crispy, tender satisfaction... or grab a familiar favorite, all for just a dollar each. hot 'n spicy. can you handle more to love for less? then get it in gear, and get to mcdonald's. ♪
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i always thought that he would be caught within a month or two. then a year went by. then two years went by. then five years went by. the fact that we're sitting here eight years later is staggering.
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>> in spite of the fbi and phoenix police department's best efforts, jason derek brown remains at large. all things change over time, especially people. fbi and phoenix police forensic artists have tried to determine just how the years may have treated brown. has the california surfer dude grown into a man more closely resembling his father, who disappeared a decade earlier? jason brown's ability to remain at large all this time has convinced his pursuers he remains cunning and disciplined. >> he drops off the radar. >> yes. >> and not one hit, one credit card usage, one video surveillance capture? >> no. >> he's ghost. >> we have received probably over 5,000, 6,000 tips on people who think they've seen jason. >> 6,000 tips. >> all those tips speak to how easy it might be for brown to hide and n. plain sight. >> he's good-looking.
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charming when he wants to be. >> yeah. absolutely. >> what do you think the odds are that he's wangled his way into some woman's life someplace and he's being supported and she has no idea she's living with an accused killer? >> i think that is the leading theory. he has a history of mooching off people, trying to get close with somebody, tell them he's somebody he really isn't, and then draining them for as much as he can possibly drain them for, and then moving on to the next. and that's why i think it's very likely he's using that charm to get close with a woman, tell them he's somebody totally different. i think that's what he's doing. and then moving on. >> brown was raised in the mormon church and did his two-year mission throughout france. speaks french fluently. >> yes. >> could he be in france? >> he could be anywhere. he could be in france because he speaks fluent french. he also speaks spanish. and english. and so we've got the world. >> right. >> over the past eight years there have been suspected sightings of jason brown from
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key west to las vegas to vancouver. in one incident cops detained sean penn's body double, whom they mistook for brown. it was just one of dozens of incidents where individuals have been detained until their fingerprints or other identification could prove they were not the notorious fugitive. the closest thing to a confirmed sighting came in 2008, when someone who knew the fugitive said he thought he recognized brown waiting at a stop sign in salt lake city. but whoever was in the car was long gone by the time agents heard about it. fbi agents believe that even on the run jason brown remained a serious threat to public safety. he had earned a place among the nation's most dangerous criminals. so in 2007 they put him on the bureau's ten most wanted list. >> why does brown make the list? >> because his crime was a very serious violent crime. because brown is smart. he's capable. he's a person who's fluent in french.
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he's an avid outdoors person. >> give me a sense for the volume of tips that come in when somebody makes the top ten most wanted list. >> the volume of tips routinely coming in to give a tip or send a tip to the fbi is about 20,000 a month. >> 20,000 a month? >> 20,000 a month. >> reporter: it's not just the desire to be a good citizen that prompts those calls. there's a minimum $100,000 reward for information about top ten fugitives. and the bounty on jason brown was recently doubled to $200,000. the fbi is making it easy to collect. they put up a dedicated website and a ten most wanted app. >> there are hundreds of thousands of hits on that app. it's been wildly successful. >> reporter: ron hosko, the top ten program director, thinks they'll get their man. >> what is it going to take to apprehend jason derek brown? >> it's going to take some alert citizen who's listening to this show or who is looking at his
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most wanted app on his smartphone, or at the website saying, i know where that person is and picking up the phone. >> reporter: the family of the man jason brown is alleged to have killed hopes that happens. >> what do you say to jason brown as we sit here tonight? >> ask him why. why and how could he do this to somebody? over money. what brought him to this? he just did not just take my brother's life. he took my mom's, my dad's, my family's life. everything from us. >> what is it like for you every day to know that the man authorities believe killed your brother remains free? >> to know that he's still out there, that he could still wake up every day, enjoy life, it used to really irritate me. as i got older, i realized i still have anger toward him, but he has to be living in fear.
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he cannot live a normal life. he has to be looking over his shoulder every time. he has to sleep, go to bed, and know what he did and sleep with what he did. >> the investigators charged with tracking down keith palomares's suspected killer aren't giving up. >> he's been on the lam for eight years. what do you think the realistic chances are that he'll ever be caught? >> i think we have good chances. they eventually get caught. one way, shape, or form. and i'm confident that that will happen. >> one thing i'll guarantee you, we won't stop looking. he'll stay on that list until we catch him or determine he's dead. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." we're off next sunday. but we'll be back on wednesday starting april 3rd at 8:00, 7:00 central. i'm lester holt. and for all of us at nbc news, good night. announcer: last week on "all-star celebrity apprentice," mr. trump put the all-stars onstage. trump: you'll be performing a soap opera for a live audience. marilu: oh!
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announcer: on team power, project manager la toya jackson went head-to-head with omarosa. omarosa: then, saying, "be quiet" -- la toya: who is the most disrespectful person sitting in this room right now? you tell me! i'm a grown woman. i run a company. i run half of the west coast. you're not gonna talk to me like i'm 4 years old. did you guys get that? she runs a company half of the west coast. la toya: omasa's fiancé had a heart attack. i'm sure she gave it to him. announcer: and on plan b, project manager stephen baldwin ruled with an iron fist. stephen: if i decide to leave it all on and you all have to work it out, that's my decision. marilu: okay. no worries. absolutely. you're absolutely right. okay? trace: stephen, you be nice to marilu, or i'm gonna kill you. announcer: in the boardroom, gary busey was again called out by his team. trump: who was your weak link? stephen: gary -- just because of his personality. gary: i'm not weak. not weak at all. that's a fallacy. announcer: but that didn't keep plan b from getting the win. trump: so, stephen, i want to congratulate you. stephen: thank you, mr. trump. i'm gonna give you $20,000, and crystal light is adding $30,000. announcer: left to face mr. trump, tensions ran high on team power. omarosa: this is a tough season. it's all-stars. you can't have weak players, mr. trump.
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trump: claudia, are you a weak player? claudia: the fact that you're saying i'm throwing you under the bus with all the trickery you've been doing that's coming to light. omarosa: i came to win. i'm not a quitter. well, maybe on the 30th episode, you'll win finally. i came to win. you know what? i will. because i'm gonna stay and fight. good luck with that. announcer: and after an unexpected choice by la toya... trump: la toya, pick two people. la toya: i'm gonna choose brande and dennis. i've never been so shocked in my life. omarosa: hallelujah. arsenio: i think la toya is avoiding a boardroom battle with omarosa because she loses that. announcer: trump was left with little options. trump: you made a terrible choice when you didn't bring back omarosa. la toya, you're fired. [ dramatic music plays ] gary: the reason you came on to me could've been done in private. it could've been done out of the boardroom. stephen: it doesn't mean that you didn't do what you were asked to do or play well. let me finish, please.
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